Sysomos Conference Correspondent: Making Decisions at the Speed of Culture

The Dx3 2016 Conference Correspondent Whitepaper Presented by Sysomos summarizes some of the top speakers from Dx3 who inspired attendees to take action in their digital strategies.

When doing improv, you need to stay in the moment. That’s something Second City Works, the B2B arm of the world famous comedy theatre, knows all too well. It teaches companies about how improv can be used to make decisions at the speed of culture. Sandy Marshall, Vice-President at Second City Works described the basic principles of how to engage better at work using improv:

  • You are an improviser
  • Follow the follower

It’s about saying “yes, and,” to engagement, which allows you to be more inventive, quick to solve problems, and love every idea…at least for a little while. Being collaborative is easier with a “yes, and” philosophy as it can have a very positive impact on work culture. Industries say the market is so competitive that the only advantage they have is their service and their people. Since business moves at such a high speed, companies have to learn to work collaboratively to sell their people. That’s where the “yes, and” philosophy comes in. In corporate environments, which are often combative, saying “yes, and” can help propel you as an individual, as well as learn how to work with your colleagues as part of an ensemble rather than a team.

seven elements of improvWhen you go into a presentation, it’s more exciting when you know your team will build you up. That’s working as an ensemble versus a team. The word team implies competition. At Second City, an ensemble will take turns leading and following, which turns the exercise into a true collaboration. In your ensemble, you’re only as strong as the ability to compensate for the weakest link, rather than in a team, where you’re only as strong as the weakest link. Make your partners look good.

Active listening is another key to improv. Think about what happens when you begin your sentence with last word someone else ended theirs with. It forces you into parallel thinking. The act of listening is really important in business. You should take note of listening to what the last word is in colleagues’ sentences because then you know you’re listening. Sometimes conversation can be tough in and of themselves. If you’re actively listening, conversations can be more productive and, by truly listening and repeating what you’re hearing, you can help resolve conflicts and tough situations.

In the workforce sometimes you might feel like you can’t fail, but if you come with a kernel of an idea knowing that your colleague will support it, you can build a complete idea together and be more effective. And don’t be afraid to fail.

Failing To Adapt

Organizations that accept failure as a natural part of the creative process can see tremendous increases in productivity, morale, and innovation. Co-creating within your company can help strengthen your organization as a whole. Co-workers can help you do the heavy lifting and give you something to build upon. Sometimes you have only your ensemble to rely on, and if you know you have each other to support it can be a boon, especially in a meeting environment. Sharing leadership moments applies to making decisions because when the pressure’s on, you need to listen and take all the considerations into account. That’s how you can come to the best result.

Once you start as an improviser, you never really stop. It’s like a muscle that you should continue to flex. In the business world you’re improvising well if you’re listening well, and if you’re listening well you’re improving the quality of communication and building trust through authenticity. For example, by allowing team members to air grievances or highlight problems, managers are better able to learn and grow.

Download the full Conference Correspondent Whitepaper Presented by Sysomos to learn from many of the top Dx3 2016 speakers.

About Jonathan Paul

Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based freelance writer who specializes in the Canadian advertising and marketing beat. He has written for major industry publications including Marketing and Strategy. At the latter he was senior writer for four years, crafting all sorts of stories on the advertising and marketing tactics of big brands including Microsoft, Coca-Cola, UFC Canada and Tim Hortons, all whilst keeping a finger on the pulse of international creativity, technology and trends. An avid scribe, both personally and professionally, he’s also an imagineer, information disseminator, media junkie, videogame enthusiast and, admittedly, a comic book nerd.

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